My alcoholism is a disease that gets stronger the longer I do nothing positive. And while getting through a day keeping my reactions in check might seem like glorious victory, it’s barely scratching the surface of serenity. Maintaining is what I did when I was drinking, so merely maintaining not drinking isn’t going to cut it.
Step Eleven: sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
It’s all in the preparation. A baker doesn’t turn on the oven expecting a pie to start baking inside it: there’s a good deal of preliminary work behind the scenes.
In much the same way, I can’t jump out of bed and start my day without first prepping my brain. Funnily enough, sleep does not reset my mind back to a calm state of zero, where loving kindness, humility and acceptance rule my waking thoughts. And all too often, I will run with the first emotion that lays claim to my barely conscious demeanor; usually something based in worry and fear. These are the raw nerves that get rubbed until I do something about them – and in the past there was always liquid anesthesia.
Now alcohol-free, the morning fears and worries still clamor for stage time, and if I don’t center myself, i.e., deny my imagination the chance to start making things up, I’ll go through the day full of resentment, distrust and loneliness; wrong-sized and wrong-headed, stubborn and depressed because “this” isn’t working.
That’s a pretty big baby to be tossing out with the bath water, all based on fuzzy wake-up feelings.
Alcoholic, know thyself. Most mornings, my negative energies will win the race from my head to my heart before my feet hit the floor. It’s just how I’m currently wired. That’s why Step 11 is so important. It seems insane, needing to calm down upon waking up, but trouble’s already at my door if I’m up and moving before turning things over and asking for help. I’ve already set my emotional agenda within two minutes of consciousness.
For every morning: I need physical repetition. Muscle memory. An act of humility. A slide off the bed and knees to the floor. Connect with something bigger than myself first thing in the morning. Turns out, that’s everything.